Thursday 25th of May 2023
Last week was an “out and about” week, with one of the events I was speaking at being the Hertfordshire Housing Conference in Hatfield.
The conference promotes the development of high-quality affordable housing across Hertfordshire and is the largest annual event for housing professionals in the county whose members include Tpas members such as Settle Housing and Watford Community Housing.
It was a packed agenda with plenty of contributions from across the sector including a really interesting session from Rhys Moore, Executive Director of Public Impact at the National Housing Federation talking about their current work and setting that against the current policy environment and wider public perceptions of social housing.
Never one to be daunted by slides not working, next up was Lara Oyedele, current CiH President. A humorous speech with a serious message of how can we do more to ensure greater racial diversity in our board rooms and our organisations. Lara had some radical thoughts to challenge us to make the step changes we need. Lara’s chosen presidential charity is Shoe Aid, which speaks to Lara’s lived experience of homelessness as a young woman, as well as her love of shoes. Find out more information about Lara’s campaign here.
A predictions, graph and insight packed presentation on the housing market followed from Lydia McLaren, Associate Director, Residential Research and Consultancy at Savills moving swiftly to a session with Will Perry, Director of Strategy - Regulator of Social Housing. Will was focused on what organisations need to be doing to get ready for tougher consumer regulation. What struck me most from Wills speech was he talked about pride. We know that tenants have pride in their homes – or want to, yet the stock condition is letting them down. Will’s challenge to landlords was for them to all have more pride in their existing stock. Yes new build remains crucial but the new inspection and regulatory regime will want to see proper care and attention for existing homes too.
It was a panel session next of myself, Gavin Cansfield, CEO at Settle, and Kate Roberts, Principal Consultant at Altair. We covered a range of questions from the audience around repairs and service standards, modular build, transformation, data and insight and mergers. Time flies as it always does at these things and I would have loved to have carried on longer being part of the debate.
If you want to know more about the work of the Hertfordshire Housing Conference take a look here.